Post-it Note inventor: Supportive corporate culture is key to innovation

Art Fry wants the world to know: “Post-it Notes were not an accident.”

Fry should know. Local mythology notwithstanding, he was the one who actually invented 3M’s avatar of handiness, the “yellow stickies” ubiquitous in offices the world over.

Instead, Fry told a session on innovation last week at the University of Minnesota, Post-its were a natural outgrowth of the corporate culture at 3M — a culture that specifically encouraged the development of such innovations.

“If you save your money for a trip, and you go someplace that you’ve never been before, and you see new things that you didn’t know existed, it’s not an accident,” Fry said.

Today, innovation is the buzz word du jour in business circles, with companies in nearly every industry asking themselves how they can achieve the quality. Fry offered his insights last week to a group of medical technology professionals about what made 3M innovative in the mid-1970s. (Continue reading…)